The Little Mermaid JR

Date 23rd October 2021
Society The Drama Department Ltd
Venue The Carver Theatre

Report

Author: Claire Ashworth

This show took it’s time getting onto the stage due to Covid Lockdowns, but it was definitely worth waiting for. The cast ranged in age from 2 years old up to 16 years old, the baby seagulls (age 2-3 ) elicited the requisite “Aww” from the audience and the one that just stood and completely refused to do anything was a star in the making. It is lovely to see a society being so inclusive of it’s much younger members - it teaches them from a very early age exactly what goes into getting a show from page to stage and also allows them to experience the joy and feeling of being part of a show family during show week.

The stage was very simply set throughout which worked perfectly for this production and allowed the cast themselves to transport us ( the audience) to the various locations. Two of my favourites were Ariel’s Treasure Trove and Scuttle’s Rocks, there was very clever use of The Carver Theatre’s revolve and Michael McCaw used it perfectly to seamlessly scene change without always throwing a blackout . The revolve is a little noisy though and could perhaps benefit from a music overlay but this is a personal and very picky point and did not detract from the production.

The choreography throughout was age appropriate and executed well, the full cast numbers were my personal favourites with my absolute favourite being the end of Act 1 - Under the sea, there is no other word , it was completely Wow!!, it released my inner child with joy, the colours, the bubbles, the sea anemones, the jellyfish. I loved it.

The costumes themselves were excellent, a huge round of applause to Janet Newcombe, some of them were truly spectacular, we knew instantly before the character spoke who was who. Minimal props were used but were handled well and all had definite purpose.

Lola Simpson played the part of Ariel beautifully, she used her face very expressively and her vocals were clear and strong with some beautiful tone. She has been coached well by Musical Director Dawn Leigh and showed some lovely depth and bottom in her top notes, she is definitely one I will be keeping an eye out for in the future. Emma Redfern as Sebastian did an amazing job of holding her accent yet keeping her diction clear, we really felt for Sebastian’s quandary over Ariel’s decisions and this was all down to Emma’s own characterisational skills. Ursula, played by Jessica Sellers, was every inch the loveable, misunderstood villainess. We could tell that Jessica enjoyed playing the part, on the performance that I attended Jessica was having some throat problems ( damp time of year etc) which gave an added rasp to her voice in both dialogue and vocals, I personally felt that this added even more padding to her already competent characterisation - it definitely added a touch of the “Hena Bonham-Carter’s” unpredictability for me which I thoroughly enjoyed. King Triton was played by Daniel Eccles. I loved his calmness throughout, even when Triton got annoyed Daniel did not overplay and made the conscious decision to not bellow and stride about, it made his characterisation so much more real. Flounder ( Beth Moran) and Scuttle (Evie Moran) were two more very strong and loveable characters, they both played their parts with superb diction and commitment, every little gesture was carefully thought out and perfectly executed. The ensemble worked very hard throughout the show and supported their Principals brilliantly. I could go on and say something about each and every member of the cast but we would be here forever, you are an absolute joy to watch work together and I fully look forward to seeing you all again soon.

In closing I would like to congratulate The Drama Dept for a job very well done - your standing ovation was very much deserved. Thank you for your hospitality, see you in a few weeks.